Friday, 22 August 2008

Why did Stillmatic get 5 Mics?

In the height of the feud between Nas and Jay-Z both released their best albums since their respective debuts (Jay's was arguably his best period). Both 'Blueprint' and 'Stillmatic' got 5/5 ratings in the (then) credible hip-hop bible The Source. I don't think there's much argument in 2008 about whether or not 'Blueprint' is a classic record; it's widely regarded. But 'Stillmatic' hasn't aged very well. There were always question marks over songs like 'Braveheart Party' (which was actually removed from the tracklisting in the album's second run), 'The Flyest' and 'Rule' featuring Amerie. The obvious path to understanding the overrating of 'Stillmatic' would be to look at the production list, the title track and intro was produced by The Source's evil overlord and general humorous geezer Benzino and his production company. Suspect? Why of course. But it appears there were even greater incentives for the magazine to see Nas succeed as revealed by former editor-in-chief in her new novel about her life in hip-hop...
“We waited until the SUV’s backseat window slowly rolled down and we saw Nas’ face hiding behind a pair of dark, don’t-notice-me sunglasses. From where I was sitting, I could see everything inside the car. Holding a cane, Nas was reclined in the backseat behind the passenger side wearing a red, black, and green kufi and a matching dashiki. From that moment on, we used the code name Zamunda when referring to him. Zamunda was the fictional country in Africa that Eddie Murphy came from in my favorite movie of all time, Coming To America.”
When 'Stillmatic' was first released to select press in 2001 it actually received horrible reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone who gave it 2.5/5 calling it "a jumble of sloppy filler". I actually kinda like 'Stillmatic' but the idea of it being a perfect album always confused me.

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